Oregon Ducks: Thomas Duarte

Lunch links: Any sleeper teams?

April, 17, 2014
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Love is a burning thing, and it makes a fiery ring;
Bound by wild desire, I fell into a ring of fire.

Spring position breakdowns: TE

February, 28, 2014
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Our look at position groups in the Pac-12 continues.

Arizona: Terrence Miller was listed on the team's depth chart as a tight end, but he wasn't a traditional tight end. After catching 40 passes for 467 yards in 2013, he's out of eligibility. Former quarterback Josh Kern backed up Miller and is one of four tight ends listed on the roster.

Arizona State: Chris Coyle (29 catches, 423 yards, 4 TD) is a big loss for the Sun Devils and his primary backup, Darwin Rogers, also is out of eligibility. De'Marieya Nelson and Marcus Washington are the most experienced of the four tight ends on the roster, which will grow by one with the addition of recent signee Brendan Landman. Landman is expected to redshirt after playing left tackle during his senior year in high school.

California: There is no tight end position in Cal's offense, which was a factor in Richard Rodgers' early jump to the NFL. Rodgers was switched from tight end to wide receiver last season upon coach Sonny Dykes' arrival.

Colorado: Senior Kyle Slavin is atop the depth chart after catching nine passes in 2013. Sean Irwin played minimally as a freshman, but his role is set to increase. Three other tight ends are on the roster, including Connor Center, who did not play football in high school.

[+] EnlargePharaoh Brown
Christian Petersen/Getty ImagesOregon's Pharoah Brown made 10 catches, two for touchdowns, in 2013.
Oregon: The Ducks have a trio of players who gained significant experience in 2013 in Pharaoh Brown, Johnny Mundt and Evan Baylis. Brown started five games, Mundt had a 121-yard receiving game and Baylis started in the Civil War game against Oregon State. Koa Ka'ai and Davaysia Hagger will provide depth, but they don't appear on track to make much of an impact on the depth chart.

Oregon State: With Connor Hamlett and Caleb Smith both returning, the Beavers arguably have the best tight end tandem in the conference. Hamlett had 40 catches for 364 yards and Smith added 25 for 343 yards. Kellen Clute (19 catches, 159 yards) also contributed to the passing game and Tyler Perry, who will be a fifth-year senior, is an important run-blocker.

Stanford: A one-time strength of the Cardinal, tight ends weren't a significant factor in Stanford's offense in 2013, but the staff is hopeful that an influx of new players will change that. Stanford signed No. 1-ranked TE-Y Dalton Schultz, and he'll compete for playing time immediately. Greg Taboada, Eric Cotton and Austin Hooper -- all well-regarded tight end recruits -- are coming off redshirts and will compete with Charlie Hopkins, who started three games last season.

UCLA: There is no traditional tight end at UCLA, but Y receiver Thomas Duarte, who was recruited as a tight end, is coming off an exceptional freshman season. The 6-foot-3, 221-pound Orange County native appeared in all 13 games and tied a school freshman record with three touchdown receptions.

USC: Losing Xavier Grimble early to the NFL is a blow and just two other scholarship tight ends remain from last season: Randall Telfer and Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick. One of the nation's top tight ends, Bryce Dixon, signed with USC, but he wasn't among the group of four early enrollees.

Utah: The Utes were the only school in the country to send two tight ends -- Jake Murphy and Anthony Denham -- to the NFL combine, though Utah listed Denham at receiver. Siale Fakailoatonga, a former walk-on, was Murphy's primary backup on the final depth chart, and he caught two passes for 18 yards in 2013. Harrison Handley redshirted last season after enrolling early last spring and is a candidate to compete for playing time.

Washington: John Mackey Award winner Austin Seferian-Jenkins' departure for the NFL was expected, and how the Huskies replace him will be an interesting process. Clearly, there's not a one-man solution for what they'll lose with Seferian-Jenkins, but the combination that the returning players provide is a nice mix of different talents. Michael Hartvigson and Josh Perkins have the most experience at tight end, but they should receive a push from Darrell Daniels and David Ajamu. Daniels, a highly-regarded receiver recruit who switched to tight end, was a special-teams standout in 2013 as a freshman, while Ajamu redshirted.

Washington State: Washington State didn't list any tight ends on the roster last season, but early enrollee Nick Begg will start his career listed there. The long-term plan for Begg is likely elsewhere.

Previous positions
Quarterback
Running back
Receiver
Offensive line
The Oregon Ducks have heard their name called a number of times in recent years during all-star game declarations. With five of the Ducks' top targets announcing last week, Oregon coaches and fans were hoping for some good news. Unfortunately for the Ducks -- who won the Fiesta Bowl a day before the Under Armour All-American Game and the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl were played -- a second straight BCS win wasn't enough to convince any of the five recruits to announce in their favor.

So where exactly do the Oregon Ducks go from here?

Despite missing on some of their top targets, the Ducks are holding steady at No. 22 in the ESPN.com Class Rankings with 13 commits. If they want to stay in the rankings, they will need to add a few more recruits before signing day.
It was quite a week for the Oregon Ducks. They earned a huge Fiesta Bowl win, saw several of their top targets commit elsewhere and -- maybe you heard -- nearly lost their head coach to the NFL for the second year in a row.

[+] EnlargeCameron Hunt
Miller Safrit/ESPN.comCameron Hunt is still committed to Cal but will be visiting Oregon on Jan. 18.
After a wild week of ups and downs, things are back on track as Chip Kelly decided on Sunday night to return to Eugene in 2013. Despite the distractions, recruiting rolls on despite missing on some key targets. TE Thomas Duarte (Santa Ana, Calif./Mater Dei) and WR John Ross (Long Beach, Calif./Jordan) were the only two the Ducks had a real shot at, so missing on them -- in addition to S Leon McQuay III (Seffner, Fla./Armwood), WR James Quick (Louisville, Ky/Trinity) and LB Mike Mitchell (Plano, Texas/Prestonwood)-- threw a wrench in Oregon's recruiting efforts.

So where do the Ducks go from here?

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Ducks strike out at all-star games 

January, 7, 2013
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While most Oregon fans are still celebrating the news of Chip Kelly's return, it wasn't all good news for the Ducks in the past week.

[+] EnlargeThomas Duarte
Tom Hauck for ESPN.comThomas Duarte was one of several Oregon targets to commit elsewhere during last week's all-star games.
Five of Oregon's top targets announced for other programs at various all-star games last week, forcing the Ducks to re-evaluate the remainder of their recruiting class.

It doesn't seem as if the uncertain status of Kelly at the time had anything to do with the decisions of the five recruits who committed to other programs. With those players, it was more about them choosing other schools that were better fits and had always been at the top of their lists.

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Oregon recruiting quick hitters 

January, 1, 2013
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On Thursday night, the fourth-ranked Oregon Ducks will take on the fifth-ranked Kansas State Wildcats in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. Thursday is also a big day for the Ducks -- as well as every other program around the country -- as the recruiting dead period will end when the clock strikes midnight.

[+] EnlargeThomas Duarte
Tom Hauck for ESPN.comThomas Duarte is expected to make his college choice during Friday's Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl.
Once coaches are able to contact and visit recruits again, expect a flurry of activity from the Ducks' coaching staff. With a few of the Ducks' top remaining offensive targets announcing at various All-American games it seems likely that the first kids they will contact are ATH Tarean Folston (Cocoa, Fla./Cocoa), WR John Ross (Long Beach, Calif./Jordan) and TE-Y Thomas Duarte (Santa Ana, Calif./Mater Dei).

Ross and Duarte -- two of the elite offensive weapons in the West -- both confirmed Monday that they will announce their college choice during the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl on Friday. Both four-stars have the Ducks among their finalists. Both players also have UCLA and Washington in their final group as well, with Duarte also considering Notre Dame.

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Oregon recruiting: Quick hitters 

December, 24, 2012
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Danny MattinglyTom Hauck/ESPNHSDanny Mattingly, who previously was committed to Notre Dame, pledged to Oregon last week.

After a long drought in which Oregon went almost the entire season without gaining any new commits, the Ducks have been busy doling out new offers, two of which resulted in immediate commitments.

Once junior-college LB Joe Walker (Los Angeles, Calif./Harbor College) took his official visit to Eugene, an offer was made and Walker jumped at the opportunity. Last week, the Ducks found the ultimate diamond in the rough when they offered -- and received an immediate commitment from -- OL Jake Pisarcik (Medford, N.J./Shawnee).

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DuckNation recruiting mailbag 

November, 30, 2012
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Mike MitchellTom Hauck for ESPN.comPlano, Texas, linebacker Mike Mitchell is at the top of the Ducks' board as Oregon looks to replenish that position.
With the Ducks looking like a near lock to face Kansas State or Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl, they have time to rest and recover as they prepare for what will likely be their fourth consecutive BCS Bowl appearance.

In the meantime, the Ducks' coaches have been hitting the road to visit their current commits and check in on their remaining targets for the Class of 2013. Several 2014 targets have been visited as well and it seems the Ducks have plenty of early attention from some of the elite prospects in that class.

With the holidays fast approaching, the mailman has been busy, but not too busy to deliver your questions to DuckNation.

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Five schools remain for Thomas Duarte 

November, 27, 2012
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Tight end Thomas Duarte (Santa Ana, Calif./Mater Dei) is down to a final five schools, but the 6-foot-3, 223-pound standout would like to wait one more week before diving fully into the recruiting process.

Though Duarte has taken it slowly from the begining, five schools have separated themselves at the top of his list: Notre Dame, Oregon, UCLA, USC and Washington. Duarte holds offers from all but USC, and said those schools will likely receive his five official visits. He said the topic of official visits has started to come up with coaches, and the tight end will begin setting them next week.

First, he wants to get through Saturday's CIF Championship Game against Long Beach (Calif.) Poly. Oddly enough, Duarte said it was a late-season loss to Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco that propelled them to this point.

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Oregon recruiting: Quick hitters 

November, 27, 2012
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With their 48-24 victory in the "Civil War" on Saturday, the Ducks capped off another regular season that gave fans and the rest of the country plenty of reasons to believe Oregon isn't going anywhere.

The Ducks lost game-breakers LaMichael James and Darron Thomas without losing a step. In fact, they may be even better. With another strong close to a recruiting cycle, the Ducks should be able to stay at the top of college football.

[+] EnlargeThomas Duarte
Tom Hauck for ESPN.comOregon TE target Thomas Duarte is hoping to lead Mater Dei to a CIF Southern Section Pac-5 title this weekend.
While many fans are still upset about the Stanford loss, it hasn't had any effect on recruits who are considering the Ducks. Two of Oregon's remaining targets were visiting Oregon State over the weekend. What they saw was the Ducks win their third straight game in Corvallis.

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Ducks' recruiting mailbag 

November, 23, 2012
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The Ducks hosted an impressive group of official visitors last weekend when they took on the Stanford Cardinal. There were no commitments made publicly, but the Ducks appears to have made a big impact on all four visitors.

[+] EnlargeTarean Folston
Andrew Wolff/IntersportTarean Folston seems to be down to Notre Dame and Oregon after his visit to Eugene last weekend.
they remain committed to USC and Stanford, respectively, Nico Falah (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) and Peter Kalambayi (Matthews, N.C./Butler) both came away impressed with the Oregon program and have a lot to think about before signing day. Tarean Folston (Cocoa, Fla./Cocoa) was also impressed and, according to his high school coach, might be done with visits and ready to decide between Notre Dame and Oregon.

Bryan G. (Glendale, Calif.): Nico Falah said "Oregon is back in it," but also said he is still a Trojan. Is the fact that he said Oregon is in it just post-visit talk or is he truly considering the Ducks?

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Calif. TE Thomas Duarte in no rush 

October, 11, 2012
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[+] EnlargeThomas Duarte
Tom Hauck for ESPN.comThree-star recruit Thomas Duarte has flown under the radar but has offers from Oregon and other Pac-12 schools.
One of the more under-the-radar prospects in the west comes from one of the region's most high-profile programs. Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei is no stranger to having elite recruits on its team. Seldom has its top player flown as far under the radar as its biggest playmaking threat in 2012, Thomas Duarte.

The 6-foot-3, 223-pound athlete plays both ways for the Monarchs and is being recruited as an athlete by every school he has been in touch with. Duarte has the athletic ability, the size and the skill to play tight end, H-back or even wide receiver for almost any program.

Duarte currently holds offers from Arizona State, Colorado, California, Notre Dame, Oregon, Oregon State, UCLA, Utah, Washington and Washington State.

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What's left for the Ducks? 

October, 4, 2012
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Tyree Robinson, Tyrell RobinsonBlair Angulo/WeAreSC.comAfter getting commitments from Tyree Robinson (left) and Tyrell Robinson recently, expect Oregon to devote most of its remaining 2013 recruiting resources to defense.
After snaring commitments from twin brothers Tyrell Robinson and Tyree Robinson (San Diego, Calif./Lincoln) last week, the Oregon Ducks now have 11 verbal commitments for the class of 2013.

With a roster full of young talent, the Ducks will likely only sign 17-19 players in February.

Even if both twins wind up on defense, the Ducks' class is still heavy on offensive prospects. Of the remaining spots, expect two-thirds of them to be filled with players that will likely wind up on defense.

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Thomas Duarte focused on senior season 

September, 16, 2012
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One of the more highly recruited uncommitted players in California won't be making a decision anytime soon, as senior tight end Thomas Duarte (Santa Ana, Calif./Mater Dei) said after Friday's 51-0 whipping of Santa Monica (Calif.) that he will spent the next several months concentrating on his senior season.

“I sat down with my parents and we talked it over,” Duarte said. “Being here at Mater Dei for three years -- seeing the support system they have and all the help they’ve given me -- my parents told me I kind of owe them this season. I’m focusing on Mater Dei football first. After the season we have time set aside when I’ll be taking all of my officials.”

A mismatch for high school opposition at tight end and defensive end, Duarte has been a big part of the Monarchs' 3-0 start this season. He has nine receptions for 171 yards and four touchdowns, and has added two sacks and an interception on the defensive side of the ball.

Though he won't make a decision anytime soon, Duarte said a handful of schools stand out. That group includes Notre Dame, Oregon, UCLA, USC and Washington.

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Ducks recruiting mailbag 

September, 7, 2012
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During an impressive blowout win over Arkansas State on Saturday night, the Oregon Ducks displayed a lot of speed, size and some of the young talent that will be the core of their team in the coming years.

Our readers seem to have taken notice of the 17 freshman that saw the field for the Ducks and wonder what type of impact that may have on Oregon's recruiting efforts in the near future.

With that, it's time to open up the mailbag again as the Ducks get set to host Fresno State tomorrow.

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